The ruling All Progressives Congress has adopted the direct mode for the conduct of its governorship primary in Kogi State.
The decision to revert from indirect mode to direct primaries was revealed in a letter written by the acting National Chairman, Senator Abubakar Kyari, dated April 6, 2023 to inform the Independent National Electoral Commission on the development.
The letter partly read, “We refer to our earlier letter dated January 25, 2023, with reference no: APC/NHDQ/INEC/19/023/191 wherein we notified the commission of the mode of primary election for the conduct of the governorship primary election in Kogi State.
“However, our great party, the All Progressives Congress has reviewed the modalities for the conduct of the governorship primary Election in Kogi state and has therefore resorted to adopt the direct mode of primary election instead of the indirect mode as earlier communicated.
“The date for the conduct of the primary election still remains Friday, April 14, 2023.
“Following the above, there shall be a Special Congress to ratify the candidate with the highest number of votes at the Gubernatorial Primary Election in Kogi State scheduled for Saturday, April 15, 2023.”
The race to replace Bello gathered momentum in January when his Chief of Staff, Abdulkareem Asuku; Auditor General, Ahmed Ododo and Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Salami Ozigi-Deedat paid N50m to pick up their nomination and expression of interest forms at the APC national secretariat in Abuja.
Other aspirants in the race include the Chairman of House Committee on Finance and Secretary for the APC Presidential Campaign Council, James Faleke; Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Murtala Ajaka and the Senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District, Smart Adeyemi.
The latest move has got political pundits wondering if Bello would be willing to sacrifice his deputy governor, Edward Onoja, who has never hidden his intention to become the next leader for a candidate in Kogi West for the sake of equity.
In a related development, an Abuja Federal High Court, on Wednesday, nullified the state All Progressive Congress’ delegate list for the purpose of nominating a governorship candidate for the party in the November governorship elections.
Justice James Omotosho, while delivering Judgment, voided the ward and local government congresses said to have been conducted on February 7 on the grounds that they were not conducted in compliance with the Electoral Act 2022 and the Constitution of the APC.
The suit was brought up by a group of aggrieved APC members led by Realwan Okpanachi.